On a day that was dedicated to giving across the globe, the University of Central Missouri shared the spirit of philanthropy through its own fundraising efforts and the rededication of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library (JCKL), an accomplishment made possible by donor support.

UCM faculty, staff, students and alumni attended the Nov. 28 ceremony at JCKL during Giving Tuesday. The event was coordinated by the UCM Alumni Foundation in cooperation with library leadership and staff. Those attending learned about the $975,000 estate gift from the Koch Family Trust that funded improvements on the library’s first and second floors.

They also participated in facility tours, which allowed them to view state-of-the-art renovations, including modernized study and collaborative learning spaces, new private study nooks, a wellness room, and soft furnishings such as sofas, bench seating with privacy screens, new tables, and slide chairs.

Joining an array of speakers was Tyler Habiger, director of annual giving at the UCM Alumni Foundation. He emphasized the value of scheduling the event on Giving Tuesday as a way to demonstrate how donors’ generosity can make a difference in serving UCM students. He pointed out that during the past decade, gifts to the Annual Fund have helped make possible 130 Opportunity Grants, which have funded innovative ideas and programs submitted by faculty and staff to benefit students.

“What an incredible display of generosity and trust in our work to transform the lives of our students and create opportunities for the future,” Habiger said.

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Giving Tuesday 2023 resulted in over $90,000 raised from over 300 donors for the Central Annual Fund. Additionally, prior to Giving Tuesday, the MuleNation network of donors committed more than $50,000 in matching gifts to the Annual Fund to create new opportunities to serve students and support their greatest needs.

“We can think of no greater way to celebrate this commitment to UCM by having you all here to rededicate one of the university’s assets, the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, which has a refresh that has been made possible by donor generosity,” Habiger told the gathering.

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Courtney Goddard, vice president for advancement and executive director of the Alumni Foundation, echoed Habiger’s remarks about the importance of giving. She spoke about the collaborative efforts that involved many different campus areas and members who provided input into the library improvement project. She also provided background on former Wellington, Missouri resident and UCM alumnus Oliver T. Koch, ’41, and his wife, Mary Koch, who supported scholarships for students, and made the nearly $1 million estate gift to support the library.

“I think that gift speaks volumes because it’s not only a testament to the way they felt about the University of Central Missouri, but the way that they felt about the education that he (Oliver) received at this university nearly 80 years before,” Goddard remarked. “And that’s what estate gifts are all about…Gifts like this inspire a new generation of students, the generation of students that use this library every day."

Janette Klein, university librarian, expressed her gratitude to the Koch family for making recent upgrades possible through their financial support. She spoke about the library’s role as a vibrant, inclusive, student-centered place as the heart of campus that supports research, content creation, student collaboration and interaction. It is a facility that “supports equity of resources for all students at UCM, no matter if they’re attending classes in person at Warrensburg or in Lee’s Summit or online as distance learners.

“The library provides students with the support and resources they need to excel, not only in their academic journey but also in their professional and personal lives,” Klein said. “We do that by providing access to resources that are aligned to the curriculum and research needs of the university in formats – electronic and physical - that foster student access at the point of learning, no matter if that is the physical library, the local coffee shop, a dorm room, day or night."

While recent improvements are vital to serving such purposes, Klein and her staff are also looking to the future. They hope to improve the library’s infrastructure with a new public address system, refreshing the second and third floor through painting, installation of new carpeting and additional soft and hard furnishings while continuing to address ongoing needs.

UCM President Roger Best thanked Klein and the library staff for their role in the facility’s recent updates.

“This doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” Best said. “Sure, there were architects, there were other professional designers, but they used the feedback that was solicited by our university library staff to make this a space that could facilitate student success."

Best also offered thanks to the university’s 12th president, Ed Elliott, who was serving the institution when the new library was conceived and constructed. The building was dedicated in March 1999.

“It was really his leadership, working with donors and working with the state that allowed us to get the resources at the university to create this magnificent building that we know as the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. So thank you President Elliott for your leadership. We appreciate what you have done for us,” Best said. “And as we look over the past 25-plus years, we can see in the original design of this building, it was very clear that student learning was a priority."

In addition to biographical information about Kirkpatrick that was shared by David Pearce, executive director for governmental relations, a video by the UCM Wind Ensemble kicked off and closed formal presentations in the library’s Read and Relax area. Music students performed “Kirkpatrick Fanfare,” a work that honored the library’s namesake, James C. Kirkpatrick, who was a UCM alumnus, former newspaper editor and publisher, and public servant who spent 20 years as Missouri’s Secretary of State and 12 years on the university’s governing board.

The music composition created by Dr. Andrew Boysen, Jr., was commissioned by the university and debuted during the library’s initial dedication in 1999, and has since been performed worldwide. UCM Director of Bands Corey Seapy, conductor, introduced the piece, noting that it includes a strain from the song “Danny Boy,” which lends an Irish flavor to the work, while also recognizing the lifelong Missourian’s great passion for a country he fondly adopted as his own.

One of many attractions at the library, a replica of Kirkpatrick’s office at the state capitol is located on the second floor of the library and includes furniture, art work and many personal items that belonged to him while serving in Jefferson City.

In the photo: At left, Tyler Habiger, director of annual giving at the University of Central Missouri Alumni Foundation, speaks about the value of giving to support students during the rededication of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, which coincided with Giving Tuesday.  Seated behind him are David Pearce, executive director for governmental relations, and Janette Klein, university librarian.

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